Living Above the Frost Line is a dwelling place for practicing poets. It is the home of poet, Nancy Simpson. Above the Frost Line we give ourselves some extra growing time. Yes, we know the hard freeze will come, but until it arrives, we shall grow and share our poems.
Nancy Simpson's LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE, New and Selected Poems was published by Carolina Wren Press (N.C. Laureate Series, 2010.) She is the author of ACROSS WATER and NIGHT STUDENT, State Street Press, still available on WWW at Alibris and Books Again. Her poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review and other literary magazines.
"Carolina Bluebirds" was published in THE POETS GUIDE TO THE BIRDS, Anhinga Press). "Grass" was reprinted in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Southern Poetry Review: DON'T LEAVE HUNGRY ( U.of Arkansas Press.) Seven poems were reprinted in the textbook, SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN POETRY,(McFarland.) Two poems were published in SOLO CAFE, Two more poems were published in SOLO NOVO."In the Nantahala Gorge" was published in Pisgah Review. "Studying Winter" was reprinted in Pirene's Fountain Anthology and "The Collection" in Collecting Life Anthology.
Most recently, Southern Poetry Review Edited by James Smith, published "Our Great Depression," and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII: NORTH CAROLINA,Edited by William Wright, reprinted "Leaving in the Dead of Winter."
Living Above the Frost Line: New and Selected Poems by Nancy Simpson
We are excited that our very own Resident Writer, Nancy Simpson, has written a new book of poetry! Living Above the Frost Line: New and Selected Poems was published by Carolina Wren Press in July 2010 as the first work in their Carolina Laureate Series. Simpson is the founder of North Carolina Writer’s Network West, and her poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, the Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, and other literary magazines. Through her position as the Folk School’s Resident Writer, Simpson has bolstered our writing program by recruiting some of the finest writing instructors in the region.
A reading and reception will take place in the living room of the Keith House on November 4, 2010 at 4:45. Those attending will have the opportunity to purchase the new book, which is also available for purchase through our Craft Shop.
CULLOWHEE The Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley declared poets "the unacknowledged legislators of the world." These days we snicker at such an inflated claim for poets, or for any other voices claiming that language used well and with poetic intensity matters at all.
And yet, what can we say of the real "legislators" of our world? Their world of spin and double-talk, distortions and lies?
Now that the mid-term elections are upon us, the relentless TV ads, the daily prognostications, the vast sums spent by candidates and corporations, I'm left, yet again, wondering what qualities a leader worthy of the name should embody.
This is a difficult question to address nowadays. We exist surrounded by static: television, texting and Internet. We watch the images of men and women on the screen professing this or that value or policy. How can we tell if any of them are worthy of our respect, not to mention our vote?
I think I have found a way, thanks to a recent speech by former University of Chicago President Don Randel. He begins by quoting noted poet Richard Wilbur, whose poem "Clearness" contains these lines: "There is a poignancy in all things clear,/In the stare of the deer, in the ring of a hammer in the morning./Seeing a bucket of perfectly lucid water/We fall to imagining prodigious honesties."
Randel then laments that we live in an age of "prodigious dishonesties," but his solution does not require more classes with "ethics" in the title. "Perhaps," he declares, "we should require everyone to study poetry."
He concludes his speech with a revolutionary idea. One that might help us focus our attention more accurately on the men and women whose faces we see in the media: "The next time you see a face on the front page of the newspaper ... you might ask yourself whether the subject reads much poetry."
I don't think it's asking too much that our leaders read poetry, that they be able to speak our language clearly and precisely, nor do I think it is asking too much of them to be well-read in the texts that our canon of great literature has given us.
After all, these texts contribute, as Randel observes, to our understanding of what it means to be a human being and how we ought to behave in relation to one another.
When we have leaders who proclaim that they read nothing much at all, what does that say about them? And about us?
I suggest that as another Election Day approaches, we apply Randel's litmus test to all the candidates begging for our votes. Or dare we? Might we come away disappointed that no one, not a single solitary one, would pass muster?
If so, we face a future worse than any of us could imagine, one in which language is used not to draw our attention back to those "prodigious honesties" that the poet expresses, but to deceive, confuse and seduce us into supporting policies that will undermine and ultimately silence our voices. When that happens, the word "democracy" will have been robbed of all meaning.
Kathryn Stripling Byer is a former poet laureate of North Carolina.
This Blog - LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE did celebrate on October 26,2010, its 2nd Year Anniversary. Living above the Frost Line is the cyber home of owner, poet Nancy Simpson. A celebration of the blog is first of all, a celebration of all who have visited.
WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF THE BLOG? Poetry, Writing and life in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
As stated: “Living Above the Frost Line is a dwelling place for practicing poets. Here we give ourselves some extra time. Yes, we know the hard freeze will come, but until it arrives, we shall grow and share our poems.”
We’re sunrise watchers, moonrise watchers, sunset and moonset watchers. We’re obsessed with flowers and especially enjoy a full sun perennial garden growing on a mountain in the middle of a deciduous forest. The goal here always has been to see something blooming, even in the dead of winter, and that is sometimes possible.
WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST YEAR? Some amazing things happened, but basically this site featured Appalachian or Southern Poets regularly: Brenda Kay Ledford, Eric Nelson, Rachel Bronnum, Rosemary Royston, Maren O. Mitchell, Ruth Moose, Dana Wildsmith, Mary Ricketson, Barbara Groce, and others. You can still read their poems by going to the archives. Nancy Simpson’s all time favorite love poem was featured on Valentine’s Day: “The Gathering” by James Haba.
All of the John C. Campbell Folk School Writing classes and most of the Institute for Continued Learning Writing Classes at Young Harris College were announced. Many poetry and other writing classes were posted with a class descriptions. Where to publish was discussed.
News of interest to writers living in the NC Writers’ Network West area south and west of Asheville was posted regularly. Many NCWriters’Network West events were announced.
WHAT IS THE MOST RECENT TALK ABOVE THE FROST LINE? ECHOES ACROSS THE BLUE RIDGE - Stories, Essays, and Poems by Writers Living in and Inspired By the Southern Appalachian Mountains, edited by Nancy Simpson,with a forward by major poet and writer Robert Morgan was published by Winding Path Publishing. This anthology sold out fast and is now being reprinted. Discussion about using the anthology in Appalachian Studies has been heard behind the scenes. Book reviews have been reprinted on this site.
and in the same month, same year...talk, talk talk, the book LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE, New and Selected Poems by Nancy Simpson, a collection spanning 32 years of her poetry career, was published at Carolina Wren Press. The book LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE is the first book in Carolina Wren’s new Laureate Series. The manuscript was nominated by NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer and was launched at City Lights Book Store in Sylva, NC on Sunday, Oct. 17th. In that week it was named Appalachian Book of the Week.
WHO READS THIS LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE BLOG? There have been 16,397 visits to the site with the total of 31,395 pages viewed. Visitors are from throughout the United States, from the southeast and into Colorado and California, with an average 4 minutes reading time spent on an average of 41 pages a day. There are 34 Followers. Most inquiries come from writers searching for poems to read, for writing tips and for recent news of writing, especially Appalachian writing, southern writing, and poetry news.
The biggest number of inquiries came in January 2010, by readers interested in winter in the southern Appalachian Mountains and The Full Wolf Moon. February 2010 was also a big hit month with interest in NC Poet laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer
and a post about southern writer Dana Wildsmith with a reprint from her new book BACK TO ABNORMAL, Surviving With An Old Farm in the New South. In March 2010, readers were interested in reading poems by MaryRicketson and Ruth Moose.
Over all, during the past two years, other than inquiring about poet Nancy Simpson, readers have been searching for any and all information about physician poet John Stone and Georgia poet Bettie M. Sellers.
Menotomy Indian Hunter by sculptor Cyrus E. Dalton. This 1911 sculpture is located in Robbing Park, between Robbins Library and Town Hall in Arlington, Massachusetts. Wikipedia July 17, 2005
According to Native American legend, the Full Hunter's Moon is the full moon for which they planned their big autumn hunt parties, to hunt food in preparation for winter. This full moon always follows The Full Harvest Moon. This moon rises sooner after sunset, and it shines almost all night long. It gave the hunters a greater advantage over their prey and gave them light to hunt by day and into the night.
AT CITY LIGHTS BOOKSTORE IN SYLVA, NC OCTOBER 17, 2010
SHARING THE DAY
Andrea Selch the Director of Carolina Wren Press, NC Poet Laureate Emerta Kathryn Stripling Byer who nominated the manuscript for the new Laureate Series and Nancy Simpson author of Living Above the Frost Line - New and Selected Poems.
Nancy Simpson signs a copy of Living Above the Frost Line for novelist Sue Ellen Bridgers.
Director of Carolina Wren Press Andrea Selch meets poet Rosemary Royston.
And it's food, glorious food prepared by Spring Street Cafe.
Lovers of Robert Frost might take note of Nancy Simpson, a Hayesville poet, whose new book, “Living above the Frost Line,” refers to her wintry habitat, and not his name. Yet she shares with Frost a conversational tone, musically shaped because well-honed.
For instance, there are these lines from “Storm,” included in her section of new poems: “Back in my dark hovel, I hover / near a kerosene heater that can / only knock the chill off one room ./ It can only heat coffee to lukewarm.”
“Hovel … hover … heater,” Simpson knows how to play with words in a way that feels like song although the lines don’t rhyme.
In her poem “At the Gates,” she breaks into an anthem’s refrain to record departed travelers’ plaints: “I fell from the roof / said an addict. I froze on the mountain / said the Kurd.”
The years 1977-2009 are covered by “Above the Frost Line: New and Selected Poems by Nancy Simpson,” published by Carolina Wren Press.
Simpson has plied her craft while helping others: Students in her writing classes and writers in Netwest, the mountain writers’ group that she helped establish.
Copies of LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE can be bought at:
The Book Nook, Blairsville, Georgia
Carolina Wren Press, Durham, NC
City Lights Book Store, Sylva, NC
Malaprops Book Store, Asheville, NC
Phillips and lloyd Book Shop, Hayesville, NC
Craft Shop at John C Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC
Yes, to the leaf lookers. It is time to drive into the Southern Appalachian Mountains. I'm thinking peak may come as soon as October 13th but no later than October 20th. The vistas in the far western North Carolina and north Georgia Mountains will be lovely through the end of the month.
The Great Smoky Mountains are a breathtaking sight, especially in fall when the mountain foliage turns to radiant shades of crimson, orange, and purple. Nestled between North Carolina and Tennessee, the most-visited national park in the United States is home to 100 species of native trees with an awesome display of turning leaves. Peak fall foliage travel is predicted for early October through early November; the most memorable colors coming courtesy of sugar maples, scarlet oaks, sweetgums, red maples, and hickories.
Nancy Simpson will read poems from Living Above the Frost Line New and Selected Poems, Oct.13, 2010 - 10:30 a.m. at Coffee With the Poets, Phillips and Lloyd Book Shopon the square in Hayesville.
Oct. 17, 2010 - 2:00 p.m. City Lights Book Storein Sylva, NC will host a reception for Nancy Simpson to celebrate the publication of Living Above the Frost Line with food and drink, reading and book signing.